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The Primary English Teachers Guide J. Brewster and G Ellis, with D.

Girard Pearson Education Limited 2002 ISBN: 0 582 44776 3 In the summer of 1993 I remember vividly sitting on my sofa and devouring The Primary English Teachers Guide (Brewster et al: 1992), a gem of a book! I read it in an afternoon, then reread most of it several times over the next few months while preparing for my September challenge of teaching groups of pre-school children. It is a fantastic book and it came out at just the right time, not just for me, beginning my career as a serious teacher of young learners, but at a time when everybody needed a guiding hand. It was the beginning of the boom. A decade later I was asked to review the New Edition. A decade which has seen the world of teaching young learners grow in leaps and bounds. The Brewster et al edition of 1992 coincided with a simple need to know. The New Edition takes us further, bringing us up to date, not only telling us what we need to know, but also showing us why and invariably where we can find out more. The authors describe the necessity for a rewrite due to changes in development of new materials and resources, new research, new applications of language learning theories and approaches, and a much greater awareness of issues such as globalisation, multiple inteligences, and citizenship. The revised edition is 45 pages longer and a bigger format too! Those extra 45 pages include new chapters on language learning at primary level, how children think and learn, teaching methodologies, learning to learn, development of the four skills, English across the curriculum, resources and management skills for teachers. As I read the New Edition, I couldnt help but rush to my smaller, now yellow paged, favourite and check for bits I was sure I hadnt read. I happily rediscovered lots of information my brain had autodeleted, and more still. The New Edition is is divided into five parts: Part 1: The Young Learner This includes a short historical description of foreign language learning including the recent European Year of Languages; a solid chapter on How children learn languages describing the young learner, with information on L1 and L2 acquisition and newly written descriptions of the major theories involved in this study. The authors have linked this section very well, cross referencing ideas and information; and finally How children think and learn. Part 2; Teaching Learning and language Skills This section covers the how of teaching, learning to learn, the skills, cross-curricular English and culture. I especially liked chapter 5, Learning to learn and on page 61, the authors have provided us with a very solid Plan Do Review model, first appearing as figure 9 -A frame work for implementing learning to learn. This diagram is echoed throughout the book and referred to again and again as a basic methodology for planning teaching and learning. What is so good about this little recurring model is the simplicity

with which it appears to fit into any context. It follows the typical three-stage structure of a lesson, synonymous with pre-, while and post-, and supports not only the teachers planning/teaching, but also the childrens learning as the two progress through a lesson. This solution incorporates activities that easily encourage learning to learn, something which teachers, especially newly trained ones, find difficult planning for. Part 3: A world of Resources In the section on discussing resources and their selection, nothing is left out. Selecting course books is covered in detail, with lots of examples from recently published course books. Songs, rhymes and chants have been given their own chapter, as have games. Storybooks are also covered: a chapter full of ideas and as useful as ever. There is also a chapter on technology - bravely attempting to harness a quickly changing field in language teaching. Part 4: Management Skills for Teachers This section includes classroom management, lesson planning, assessment and record keeping and interestingly, parental involvement. I really enjoyed reading the latter, which is obviously based on techniques put into practice in the Young Learners Centre in Paris, where one of the authors works. Not all the ideas are easily transferred to other contexts, but it certainly left me with much food for thought. The assessment and recordkeeping chapter suggests several different techniques for assessing students, but completely omits to mention the latest technique in this area, namely the language portfolio. The bibliography, or in this case reference section, is jam-packed full of good material and I have starred several publications I would like to get hold of, and articles I need to search for. However I was slightly disappointed by its organisation: my yellowed version gives an appendix with references under useful subtitles; eg Grammar, Teaching reading and writing etc. (pgs 229 238) but the New Edition lists the titles in alphabetical order only. The New Edition is publicised as being ideal for teachers, teacher trainers and trainees. It is more intense, more formal: the authors quote from diverse sources, successfully but academically supporting the information they give. To help the reader focus, several chapters include a number of tasks. Simple, thought-provoking tasks which lead us into the information which comes next and encouraging the reader to reflect regularly about ones own context in relation to what one is reading. Brewster & Ellis have done well: my library now holds two gems, a big one and a small one! References Brewster, J., G. Ellis & D. Girard 1992 The Primary English Teachers Guide Penguin English : Harmondsworth By Sandie Jones Mouro